Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 538

Issue # 538                                         Week ending Saturday 8th  February 2020

You Do Not Have to Be A Fugitive From Justice to Have Access to Great Beaches
by Iain MacIver Courtesy of the Press & Journal

Brexit should be called Braxit. It is all about British access to this and that. If there is one think the Brexit brouhaha has taught us it is the importance of getting access. The whole shebang is about whether we have, or continue to have, access to markets, access to good tariffs, access to fishing grounds and access to travel wherever we like. That is really what it’s all about.

Having access to many areas of these Hebridean islands which is unfettered and unrivalled is a joy. The stunning views, the majestic hills and, of course, the golden beaches. Island beaches are regularly being credited with being the most litter-free, being the quietest and boasting the most crystal-clear waters of any in the country, in the whole of Europe and around the entire world. They are up there with legendary Bondi Beach, Copacabana and Waikiki.

We even have wonderful beaches around the islands which have got a Global Outstanding Assessment (GOA). Reef, Scarista, Luskentyre and so on. When a beach has a GOA they are recognised around the world. The GOA proves they’re not just beautiful places but you will not be shouldered by hordes of other holidaymakers. Ah, peace.

And what’s this? There are claims that Lord Lucan has been spotted. Having done a runner back in 1974 after his nanny was found apparently murdered, he has been wanted since then. Some years ago there were reports which seemed a bit confused. It was said that he was in Goa. Had they got that mixed up and did they mean that he is in a GOA? Could Lord Lucan have been hiding out by a beach with a Global Outstanding Assessment?

The jet-black hair, the chiselled jawbone structure, those famously-swarthy looks. He would have fitted in perfectly running a B&B or making tweedy craft products in Scarista on the west coast of Harris where many guys are renowned for their dashing Latino good looks. That’s a fact, apparently. But the late nanny’s son now claims to have tracked down Lord Lucan, who must now be in his mid-80s, to the west coast of ... Australia.

I doubt if that’s him. Lord Lucan wouldn’t have fitted in down under. My money is on Lucky Lucan having access to all that Luskentyre Beach has to offer.

Mind you, I am struggling with certain access myself. What a hassle it is to change to another email provider. If you need to do it, get someone who knows how because setting up a new password is a bit of a nightmare.

Email: Please enter your new password. Me: mrs x.
Email: Sorry, your new password must be more than eight characters.
Me: mrs x is grumpy.
Email: Sorry, your new password must contain one numerical character.
Me: mrs x is 1 grumpy wife.
Email: Sorry, your new password must not contain blank spaces.
Me: mrsxis1grumpywife.
Email: Sorry, your new password must contain some uppercase characters.
Me: MrsXIs1GrumpyWife.
Email: Sorry, your new password must contain more punctuation.
Me: Help!!MrsXIs1GrumpyWife!!
Email: Sorry, that password is already in use.
Me: Aaaarrgh.

There is, however, some access that is not permitted here on Lewis - at least by some. I am talking about commercial premises which are not open seven days a week. Some are open on Sundays nowadays but the majority tend to stay firmly shut. That can be a bit inconvenient for city dwellers who are used to seven-day access to everything.

An example of that was a man from Aberdeen who was here recently. Aberdonians, of course, are usually mild-mannered and very polite but this fellow was the exception to that. He was a bit loud and did not seem to care about pushing his way around in the narrow aisles of a chemist in Stornoway the other Saturday. Some of the patrons did not quite know what he was muttering on about. Fit like? He doesn’t actually look that fit, they whispered.

The Aberdonian was moaning to anyone who would listen that the island weather had given him the flu after he arrived on Friday. He had to rush to the doctor so he had a prescription for antibiotics. Then he says to the wee woman behind the counter: “Whit time do youse close on Sunday, quine?” In a flash, she replies: “Oh, we don't close on Sundays, sir.” So, on Sunday morning, he goes to pick up his prescription only to find a Closed sign hanging on the door of the chemists. He was outraged at having to trek back to his digs, sniffling and coughing.

On Monday morning, just as the staff unlocked the door, the Aberdonian ran up. “Come here, you,” he shouted at the woman who had served him on Saturday. He said: “You said that you never closed on Sundays but when I was here yesterday and you were closed. Why did you lie to me?”

The kindly Free Church pharmacist looked at the loud cove and said: “No, we did not close yesterday. How could we? We never even opened.”

Dry, Hot Summers Could Become 'Norm' in Scotland

Dry, hot summers with temperatures of about 30C are set to become the norm in Scotland, a new study suggests.  Researchers say the country should prepare for more like the record-breaking summer of 2018.  It was unusually hot that summer, with a near record high of 31.9C recorded at Bishopton in Renfrewshire.  Unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut substantially, researchers say every summer could be like 2018 towards the end of the century.  The report by researchers from Edinburgh and Oxford universities and Met Office staff analyses UK climate projections.  They suggest there is a substantial increase in the likelihood of temperatures reaching 2018's levels between now and 2050.  And they say the country should start planning now to deal with more frequent higher temperatures brought about as a result of climate change.  The Met Office said 2018 was the joint hottest on record for the UK.  A heatwave saw temperatures reaching 30C in parts of Scotland during June and July.  The researchers say the warm weather led to an increase in "staycations" and boosted sales of garden furniture, fans and ice cream.  But they found there were a series of negative impacts which may have been under-reported at the time. They include:  Foreign holiday operators and indoor recreation businesses suffered.  Fashion retailers reported a drop in profits due to lower sales of coats and jumpers.  An increase in pests like wasps, jellyfish and mosquitoes.  Lower yields of peas, broccoli, potatoes and cauliflower due to water shortages and pests.  A 30% increase in water demand, putting pressure on the utility company.  Other consequences of the heatwave include:  A lack of food and water had a significant impact on grouse numbers.  A large number of wildfires damaged newly-planted trees and local biodiversity but could generally be contained.  Whisky distilleries were closed longer than normal due to low stream flow in rivers used for cooling.  Reports that the roof of the Glasgow Science Centre and asphalt on the roads "melted".  Buckling rails and signal faults caused rail disruption. Rails were painted white to reduce heating and trains had to run at a reduced speed.  The researchers said many of the issues were not caused by high temperatures alone but some had been made worse by dry weather in the spring and summer. They concluded that Scotland had been largely able to deal with the hot weather, but with some difficulty. But they warned that repeated summers with extreme temperatures would "greatly exacerbate" negative impacts.  Human influences had made the heatwave more likely, researchers said, adding that their findings indicate the need to start sustainable long-term planning now to deal with heatwaves in Scotland induced by climate change. Lead researcher Professor Simon Tett, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, said: "Despite its cool climate, Scotland must start to prepare now for the impact of high-temperature extremes.  The bottom line is that heatwaves have become more likely because of human-induced climate change."

SSE Renewables to Build First Subsidy-free Wind Farm

Energy giant SSE Renewables is to build its first wind farm without the support of UK Westminster government subsidies.  The project is an 11-turbine extension to the company's existing 35-turbine 70MW Gordonbush onshore wind farm in Sutherland.  SSE Renewables said it would be one of the few onshore wind schemes to go-ahead since government support for onshore schemes ended after 2015.  The capacity of the new extension will be 47MW. Construction of the new turbines on a site about eight miles (12km) north west of Brora is due to start in March, with the first power from extension generated later this year.  The project has support on a "merchant basis", which is investment that comes through selling its output "competitively" into the energy market rather than having secured a long-term power purchase agreement, or a government-funded financial support mechanism, such as the UK's Contract for Difference.  SSE Renewables said merchant investments were only possible for a "limited number of the most attractive projects".  Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables, said onshore renewable projects could still play an important part in helping the UK meet climate change targets.  He said: "Onshore wind is the cheapest form of low carbon generation and brings job and investment to rural communities.  Yet despite the climate emergency, onshore wind construction is at the lowest it has been in a decade."  The Scottish government gave the go-ahead for the extension to Gordonbush in November last year. The 35 turbines already installed at the site have been operational since 2012.

First of RAF's New UK Submarine Hunters Due in Scotland
The first of nine new maritime patrol aircraft for the RAF is due to arrive at a Scottish air force station after being flown from the United States.  The £3bn fleet of P-8A Poseidons are to be stationed at RAF Lossiemouth on the Moray coast.  The first of the completed planes will operate from nearby Kinloss Barracks, a former RAF station, while new facilities are built at Lossiemouth.  It is almost 10 years since the RAF's last patrol aircraft were scrapped. The last of those jet aircraft, called Nimrods, flew out of RAF Kinloss in 2010. New Nimrods were turned to scrap as part of defence cuts, but not replaced by another type of plane. A review in 2015 led to the Ministry of Defence ordering the P-8A Poseidons from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing.  The RAF crews will operate alongside the Royal Navy in a submarine hunter role, and in work identifying and tracking surface vessels.  The first of the completed Poseidons has been named the Pride of Moray. It is expected to move from Kinloss to Lossiemouth by the end of this year.  Sqd Ldr Dave Higgins will be among the crew board Tuesday's flight to Kinloss following training in the US. He said: "It is a huge honour to be on that historic flight. For some of us there is much excitement because myself and my colleagues know how capable this aircraft is going to be. They are multi-mission aircraft with a variety of sensors that can fuse together so the crew can see lots of different types of information."  Equipped with "state-of-the-art sensors" enabling it to detect, identify and track vessels both above and below water  Will be flown from RAF Lossiemouth by two squadrons: CXX Sqd and the still to be fully operational 201 Sqd.  Crews have been training on the aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in the US.  £132m of improvements being made at Lossiemouth to accommodate the fleet and its crews, including a new "strategic facility" to house and maintain the aircraft and personnel. The investment includes £75m in resurfacing runways.  Joe Kennedy, who flew on Nimrods for more than 30 years, said the decision to scrap the planes and not immediately replace them with new maritime patrol aircraft still felt shocking almost 10 years later.  He said: "We all felt incredibly sad this fantastic aeroplane was coming to an end of its life.  In my personal opinion I think it was a great loss and I think a lot of us thought it inconceivable that we lose the maritime patrol capability with nothing to replace it."  Mr Kennedy said he was "delighted" the RAF would soon have a fleet of Poseidons.  Moray councillor James Allan said the arrival of the new personnel would bring benefits to the local community.  He said: "It's great for Lossiemouth, which is a small place.  We have a new school being built just now and a new community centre and swimming pool. It will also be great for our economy."

Dutch City Flies Scottish Saltire in Place of Union Flag

A city in the Netherlands is flying the Scottish Saltire in place of the Union Flag after the UK left the EU.  The deputy mayor of Leeuwarden, Sjoerd Feitsma, came up with the idea after visiting Edinburgh for a Robert Burns festival.  The Saltire is now displayed with the flags of the remaining 27 EU nations at the city's main railway station.  Mr Feitsma alerted BBC Scotland in a tweet saying: "Bye bye Britain (England). Hello Scotland!"  He added: "On Brexit day, the Scottish flag is prominently (and permanently) visible at the Central Station in @leeuwardenstad. We'll leave a light on."  People in Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.  The overall UK result backed Leave by 52% to 48%.  Leeuwarden, which is the capital of the Friesland region in the north of the Netherlands, has a number of cultural ties with Edinburgh.  And Mr Feitsma said he had been moved by the response of Scots to Brexit - with pro-EU demonstrators staging candelit vigils in several Scottish cities on Friday evening.  He told the Dutch daily newspaper Friesch Dagblad: "I was thinking of replacing the Union Jack with an EU flag or a rainbow flag. I noticed what a big deal it was for the Scots that they're no longer in the EU and that they are still flying the European flag in the Scottish Parliament.  That's when I thought, we could do something with this too."  The Saltire will remain on display outside the railway station for an indefinite period of time.  Mr Feitsma said: "This isn't an official area so we can decide for ourselves which flags we hang here."

Piper Wins BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award
Piper and whistle player Ali Levack has been named BBC Radio Scotland's Young Traditional Musician for 2020.  The 26-year-old, from Dingwall, was presented with the award after a winning performance at Glasgow's City Halls on Sunday evening.  The musician, who is the 20th recipient of the award, said he was shocked but "utterly thrilled" to have won.  Six finalists performed for the live broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Alba as part of Celtic Connections.  Mr Levack said he was honoured to win at the event which marked the closing night of the 2020 Glasgow music festival.  "Everyone played their hearts out tonight and gave a fantastic performance which has made it such a special night. The competition was tough so I'm a little bit shocked to have won, but utterly thrilled," he said.  "The past winners of BBC Radio Scotland's Young Traditional Musician have gone on to do some amazing things so it's really exciting to think what could lie ahead - 2020 is going to be a very exciting year."  BBC Radio Scotland commissioning editor Gareth Hydes, who presented the award, said all the finalists had been "superb", making it a difficult decision for the judges.  "Ali's performance personifies everything we want to celebrate about traditional music - it was vibrant, showed fantastic spirit and had the audience truly captivated.  We want to wish Ali huge success for the future."  BBC Scotland said Mr Levack, a previous finalist from 2018, was considered one of the leading instrumentalists on the traditional music scene, known for his "unorthodox techniques" on the whistle as part of his band Project Smok.

Stornoway Woman Competes in Prestigious Portrait Artist of the Year Competition

A young Stornoway woman is to star on the popular TV show Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year.  Eilidh Smith, 25, a health board office worker, is the first Hebridean to qualify and was successful on her first attempt to get in.  Her artist mother Margaret Ferguson was responsible for painting 100 portraits of sailors who died in the Iolaire tragedy, to commemorate its centenary.  Dr Ferguson, a retired GP, has entered four times and has not been successful – but she is delighted to see her daughter outshine her.  The prestigious Portrait Artist of the Year sees people compete for a £10,000 commission to paint a celebrity – this year the subject will be Nile Rodgers, who is to headline Belladrum festival. Thousands of people photograph their work and email it to the show every year, hoping to be chosen to take part. Each episode features a regional competition and contestants are challenged to produce a portrait of one of three famous sitters. An esteemed panel of judges select who moves onto the semifinal.  When three are remaining, the finalists will have their work displayed in the world-famous National Portrait Gallery in London. The winner will see their work become a permanent part of the British Library. Such famous sitters that are featured are Sir Ian McKellen, Sophie Turner, Sophie Dahl, Maisie Williams, Julian Fellowes, Alan Cumming and more.  The show starring Eilidh will be aired at 8pm on Tuesday, February 11. She and her mother travelled to the heat in Battersea where she competed with eight other artists. Her sitter was Doreen Mantle.  She said: “I submitted my application in February last year. The following month I received a phone call. It was funny because I picked it up and it was an accent I didn’t recognise. At first I thought it was a cold caller. They explained they were calling from the competition to say I had been selected to go through to the heat stages.  I was very excited. It was an experience I will never forget because it came totally out of the blue, it was totally unexpected.”  The piece which got her in was a self portrait wearing a towel on her head, which was painted in oil. She named it Waterfall.  She first started painting aged 16. In summer 2018 entered Patchings Art Festival in Nottingham.  Her entry was an acrylic painting called “Ready for a Ceilidh” of an old couple next to a cooking stove, which won her the Daler Rowney Award.  Mother Margaret said: “It is fantastic. It’s great to the see the youngsters coming through. Everybody in the house paints. She has her own style. Her dad Iain Smith is a retired art teacher.”

Celtic Connections Festival Closes After 18 'Dynamic' Days

The 2020 edition of Celtic Connections has closed after 18 days of "dynamic and creative collaborations".  The Glasgow festival opened on 16 January with a concert of six new compositions performed by the 85-piece Grit Orchestra.  Highlights included Scotland's largest puppet - a 10m (33ft) high sea goddess made entirely of recycled materials - processing through the city streets.  About 130,000 people attended more than 300 events during the festival.  Organisers said more than 2,100 artists from around the world had performed at this year's Celtic Connections.  It was first held in 1994 and is now considered to be one of Europe's top winter music festivals.  Celtic Connections' creative producer Donald Shaw said the end of the festival was always a "bittersweet moment".  "Though it's sad when the music stops, it's also great to look back on such a successful event as this one, which has brought together so many talented performers and presented so many dynamic and creative collaborations," he said.  The new compositions heard at this year's opening night at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall were commissioned through a Scottish government fund to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. They included a custom-written contribution from playwright and former Makar, Liz Lochhead.  A "mini-festival" was also held, with a number of concerts, exhibitions and workshops celebrating Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters.  Festival organisers said another highlight was the first cross-cultural celebration of women in piping with a gig featuring folk icon Peggy Seeger and sons Calum and Neill MacColl, two shows by American singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell and an "electric performance" by West African supergroup Les Amazones D'Afrique.  The festival drew to a close on Sunday evening with Ali Levack announced as the winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year after a performance from the six finalists.  Alan Morrison, head of music at Creative Scotland, said: "Celtic Connections is a shining example of how culture - and Scotland's deep and heartfelt traditional culture in particular - can build bridges between people from all over the world.  This year's festival took place at a time when political landscapes were shifting around us and artists everywhere were facing up to fresh challenges.  And yet, over the past three weeks, Celtic Connections has welcomed friends from abroad, introduced Scotland's rising stars to new audiences, and found a common language in the instruments we play and the songs we sing."

Scottish Islanders Around the World Answer Call for Huge Viking DNA Test

More than 1,000 Orcadians and Shetlanders from around the world signed up to take part in a Viking DNA study within three days of it being announced.  Professor Jim Wilson, lead researcher for the Viking II project at Edinburgh University, said volunteers had come from Anchorage in Alaska, Dunedin in New Zealand, South Africa, Finland and Florida, among other places, as well as from the Northern Isles, the Scottish mainland and England.  He said the response so far had been 'amazing' with more volunteers required.  Prof Wilson said: "People from Orkney and Shetland are generally very altruistic. They have a great pride in where they come from and they are very proud of their Viking heritage. They are extremely interested in their Viking heritage," he said.  It is hoped that 4,000 people will take part in the study which uses the unique gene pool in the Northern Isles - where the ancestry is roughly 25 per cent Norse - to understand conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer and multiple sclerosis.  Prof Wilson, who is originally from Orkney, said research had show that, in some cases, genetic variants could be 150 more times more common on the islands than anywhere else.  For example, research has found that the genetic variant for Long QT syndrome, which leads to an arrhythmia in the heart and possible cardiac arrest, was more common among people in the Shetland Isles.  An early study of the team also found that Orkney had the highest incidence of Multiple Sclerosis in the world, with Prof Wilson involved in ongoing research to determine whether the disease has a genetic link.  He said Orkney and Shetland provided a valuable pool of genetic information given the small number of 'founders' of the population.  He said: "The Vikings arrived 1100 to 1200 years ago and since then a lot of Scottish people have moved there since.  In Orkney, there were probably 1,000 or 2,000 people who were founders of the population so all the genes and all the variants come from that same number of people because they have generally married into their own. Quite a number of the people there today will descend from these men and women, these founder members of the population."  He said early results from tests involving an initial group of 4,000 islanders suggested that some exceedingly rare diseases and illnesses were potentially more commonly found in Orkney and Shetland when compared to the rest of the world, but added that results were yet to be finalised.  Prof Wilson added that he did not believe that Dupuytren's disease, which can lead to a bending back of the fingers due to a contraction in hand tissue, was linked to Viking DNA, as is commonly thought. "There is no evidence to suggest a Viking link. I am happy to be proved wrong but, if it was linked to the Vikings, you would have high rates of it in Norway and in Iceland. That is not the case. It is a North European disease," he added.  The study also involves the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian clinical genetics doctors

Cheaper Social Housing Rents 'Keep Poverty Rate Lower' in Scotland

The greater availability of affordable social housing in Scotland has kept its poverty rate down, according to a wide-ranging report.  Scotland currently has 19% of households living in poverty, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said.  This compares to a rate of 24% in Wales and 22% in England.  The Scottish rate has declined from 23% in the mid-1990s to a low of 18% between 2008 and 2013, before rising slightly to its current level.  But the foundation said in its annual report that poverty continued to have a "grip" on the UK as a whole.  About 14 million people are living in poverty across the UK in 2019-20 - four million of them children, according to the charity.  Scotland has the lowest child poverty rate across the UK, with Wales the highest.  The report finds an uneven picture across the UK, with poverty rates higher in London, the north of England, the Midlands and Wales. Rates are lowest in the south (excluding London), Scotland and Northern Ireland. But there are common factors that contribute towards levels and rates of poverty in all the nations.
How does Scotland compare? At 19%, or just over one million people, Scotland has one of the lowest poverty rates in the UK - only Northern Ireland has a lower rate. Jim McCormick, the JRF's associate director for Scotland, said: "On most measures, poverty in Scotland is lower than in the UK as a whole.  But that is cold comfort to the growing number of families caught in a rising tide of in-work poverty, especially those in low paid work, with limited hours and facing UK social security cuts.  While the new Scottish Child Payment will help, now is the time to invest further in affordable housing and good work if we are to meet ambitious child poverty targets in four years."  Housing is the biggest outgoing for most families, so the availability of affordable rented accommodation can have a big impact on poverty figures.  Since 2000, the UK private rented sector has doubled in size and the foundation says an increasing number of the lowest incomes households are renting in this sector. Housing costs in the social sector have also increased since 2002.  Scotland has bucked this trend with more social housing available at more affordable rents. The report states: "New analysis in the JRF Poverty in Scotland 2019 report shows that the difference in rates between Scotland and the rest of the UK is mainly due to lower rents in the social housing sector as well as Scotland having a higher proportion of social rented properties."  How has the Scottish government responded? The Scottish government has welcomed the report's "acknowledgement" that Scotland is a country where people are more likely to be able to "progress out of poverty". Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: "The Scottish government invested more than £1.4bn in support targeted on low-income households in 2018-19, including £100m to mitigate the worst impacts of UK government welfare cuts, and we expect a similar amount to have been spent last year."  She also pointed to the Scottish government's Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, which will offer £10 a week per child to low-income families, and the investment of £3.3bn to deliver 50,000 affordable homes.

Inverness Singing Academy Hits the Right Note in its First Year

Opened by international recording star Tony Henry an Inverness singing school is celebrating its first birthday.  Opera singer Tony Henry, who has performed to hundreds of thousands of people around the world, is a familiar face as one of the voice coaches during the annual Ness Factor singing competition in aid of Highland Hospice.  At the beginning of 2019 the 58-year-old, who lives in Dingwall, opened the Tony Henry Music Academy in Canal Road, Inverness and sees an average of around 20 students a week.  He was genuinely excited about the venture before it opened and he was always hopeful it would succeed.  He said: “There is always a fear of failure. It has been exciting but tough. Like any business you start there is a lot of hard work but what surprised me was the number of hours I had to put in. I had to learn to pace myself.”  He said that over time the business had evolved but the number of students per week has remained fairly constant.  Mr Henry has also been developing the Highland Voices gospel choir and he said: “The choir is going from strength to strength, so my focus is there also. A lot who are in the choir also attend the academy.”  Last year the choir, which was formed in 2016, released its first single – Snowfall – with all funds raised going to Highland Hospice.  Mr Henry said: “All of the money will go to the hospice once I know how well it has done. The future plan for the academy is to go from strength to strength. It is going really, really well – I can’t complain at all. We are still very much in our infancy and whatever money comes in is reinvested in the unit.”  Originally from St Albans, Hertfordshire Mr Henry relocated from London to the Highlands three years ago.  He has performed worldwide since becoming an opera singer in 1995.

New Justice Centre for the North is A Step in the Right Direction

As we look back on the recent past, with 2020 well underway and Brexit Day behind us, it has certainly been a very eventful period for those interested in the law in Scotland.  Not only has a former Scottish judge, Lord Reed of Allermuir, been appointed to the most senior legal position in the UK – president of the UK Supreme Court, but in September we were reminded, if we ever needed to be reminded, that no one is above the law and that the rule of law reigns supreme.  I am of course referring to the high drama case that was R (on behalf of Miller) v The Prime Minister and Cherry and others v Advocate General for Scotland. It is not every day that the prime minister of the United Kingdom is brought to account by the courts. Indeed the retiring President of the Supreme Court, Lady Brenda Hale, named the same as her number one on her list of most landmark judgements of her judicial career.  It was a member of the Faculty of Advocates who was instrumental in bringing the matter before the courts in the first place and as I watched the news or listened to the radio reports of the case, I was reminded with pride of the words that I read every day whilst within its training facility, the Mackenzie Building in Edinburgh, during my devilling year in 2014.  The then Lord President, the Rt Hon Lord Gill, said the qualities the Faculty represented were: “…a commitment to excellence, a commitment to scholarship and learning, a commitment to the noblest ideals of professional conduct, and, above all, a commitment to justice for all in our society.”

Final Design for Govan-Partick Bridge Across the Clyde Unveiled

The final design for the pedestrian and cycle bridge that will connect Govan and Partick across the River Clyde in Glasgow has been unveiled.  The bridge will link Water Row in Govan and Pointhouse Quay at the Riverside Museum.  It is hoped that construction will start next year with the bridge opening to the public in 2022.  The cost of about £10m will be funded through the £1.13bn Glasgow Region City Deal.  Glasgow City Council said the bridge would provide "a high-quality active travel route between communities, academic institutions, businesses and visitor attractions on both banks of the river".  The bridge deck will be 115m (377ft) long with a rotating central span of 68m (223ft), making it one of the largest opening footbridges in Europe.  Its deck will be 8m (26ft) wide - providing enough space for pedestrians and cyclists - and will offer "step-free" access for wheelchairs and buggies.  The deck will be supported by a tower 28.5m (94ft) high.  Headroom of nearly 5m (15ft) above the high-water line will allow smaller vessels to pass under the bridge when it is closed.  The bridge will take a few minutes to move to the open position and will allow larger vessels, including the Waverley paddle steamer, to pass through.  Its completion will restore historic links between the two communities.  For at least 2,000 years, the area had importance as a location where it was once possible to ford the Clyde.  The social and economic connection was later maintained through cross-river ferries.  The historic Govan ferry was closed to passengers in the mid-1960s.